XXL freshman list 2021: 2021’s XXL Freshman List dropped just in time for summer’s smash-hits, as the list contains both familiar and new faces alike.
This year features a collection of artists that are definitely poised for success. It’s also a big deal to see three female rappers on the roster this year — the most of any Freshman edition.
Coi Leray, who began turning mainstream heads after her affiliation with Trippie Redd, has shown that she has just as much marketability on her own. Her auto-tuned singing and rapping combination is a unique blend of melancholy at times — and aggressive at others. With hits in “No More Parties” and “BIG PURR” (featuring fellow Freshman Pooh Shiesty), Leray is looking to level up soon.
Alabama viral sensation Flo Milli came out swinging, as her singles in “In the Party” and “Beef FloMix” became default TikTok anthems overnight. Her aggressive yet playful rap style is complemented by a bouncy flow that goes well over simply off-key instrumentals, typically featuring some car-rumbling 808s.
Lakeyah can be described as a shooting star, climbing up to millions of views on songs off projects in Time’s Up and In Due Time. Her vocals drip with attitude and for good reason — her affiliation with powerhouse label Quality Control is nothing to look past. Toting collaborations from Gucci Mane and Yung Bleu, be on the lookout for QC’s new queen.
Rubi Rose’s claim to fame was originally in front of the camera instead of the mic. She scored huge placements in music videos for songs such as “Bad and Boujee” and “WAP”. She has a sultry flow that can switch up to something suitable for the club — going from the ass-throwing anthem “Big Mouth” — to a more bedroom-oriented vibe with “Whole Lotta Liquor,” featuring heavyweights Future and PARTYNEXTDOOR.
42 Dugg has been making moves since his original hit “We Paid” featuring Lil Baby. He has gone on to work with EDM producer Marshmello, Roddy Ricch, Big Sean and more as he ascends to stardom. His distinct voice and delivery make him a beast in the booth over any type of beat.
Pooh Shiesty has been on a good run since the Lil Durk-assisted “Back in Blood” saw viral success. His 1017 affiliation gave him instant credibility in the hip-hop community, and he even got a feature on head honcho Gucci Mane’s “Like 34 & 8”. His drawling cadences over haunting piano beats with thumping 808s are menacing yet catchy in a way that makes him hard to ignore.
Morray saw a quick rise in popularity when his song “Quicksand” was co-signed by J. Cole. Cole also gave him his first feature on his latest release, The Off-Season, collaborating on “m y . l i f e” alongside 21 Savage. Morray’s quick flows and melodic delivery make it easy to see why his rise in music has been so quick and decisive.
LA’s own Blxst has been making waves with his unforgettable hooks and melodies. His flows on each of his songs are simultaneously sleepy yet passionate. His work with established artists such as Ty Dolla $ign and Mozzy has caught the public eye as he is finally starting to get his credit.
Toosii has already been working with big names for some time now, so it’s no wonder he was picked for this list. Thank You For Believing, his latest project, features Dababy, Latto and Key Glock. His auto-tuned crooning conveys his raw emotions on tracks with impact and conviction.
Iann Dior, self-proclaimed industry plant, started making waves when he connected with Taz Taylor, head of producer collective Internet Money. He may have the highest profile of collaborators on the list, with Justin Bieber, Trippie Redd, Travis Barker and Lil Baby just being the tip of the iceberg. He toes the line of pop-punk and hip-hop in his sound with songs like “shots in the dark” and “Pretty Girls”.
Last but definitely not least is the XXL fan-picked Freshman, DDG. His resume entails: Youtuber, boxer, entrepreneur and, of course, rapper. The Michigan native has been buzzing for years now, but has now seen major mainstream success with his latest project Die 4 Respect — featuring Blueface, NBA Youngboy, Lil Yachty, PnB Rock and more. His flow and rap capabilities ultimately mirror his boxing style — relaxed yet hard-hitting.
Get ready to see what these Freshman bring to the table, as XXL highlights them over the next few months.
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